The fourth day of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Summer School programme continued with lectures on undercover operations and research, as well as tips for following paper trails in stories.
Former FBI undercover operative Stephen Salmieri told the journalists participating in the Summer School that undercover investigative work is extremely dangerous, which is why it should be used as sparingly and requires a lot of preparation.
In order to minimise security risks, Salmieri said that journalists working undercover should not change their personality. He also said that journalists should know their targets and research their sources, as well as keep in constant contact with their parent organisation.
"When doing investigations, know everything you can know your enemy. Let go of your ego and reduce tensions. If you come across as aggressive, the situation will quickly escalate," said Salmieri.
A perfect undercover agent, according to Salmieri, is a smart and aware person who listens carefully.
Two times Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Nalder gave the participants of the Summer School tips on how to gather material evidence and documents from companies and organisations. He emphasised the importance of physically going to organisations, carefully interviewing workers and using psychological tricks to control the communication with them.
Nalder also said that after gathering documents, journalists should organise them carefully.
“Always be organised. Use Excel or other spreadsheets to organise your documents, otherwise you might get lost in them,” said Nalder.
British journalist David Leigh also discussed the need to collect documents, but also highlighted that while writing the story, journalists should make sure to provide readers with several points of access.
“Provide photos, interviews, galleries and short clips. Presentation is key. Your story is useless if it does not reach the public,” said Leigh.
The BIRN Summer School is taking place this week in Slovenia with 30 journalists from Serbia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Austria, Estonia, France and Romania participating. It will finish on Friday.
The BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting 2013 is organised in cooperation with the Media Program South East Europe of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and with the support of the King Baudouin Foundation, the Belgian National Lottery, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission to Serbia and USAID in Macedonia.
BIRN Macedonia, together with Centre for Investigative journalism - SCOOP Macedonia and the Centre for Civil Communications launched the fifth call for investigative stories on November 25th.
‘The Silent Scream’, a documentary dedicated to the victims of wartime sexual violence, produced by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH) premiered on Wednesday in Sarajevo.
The International Protocol on Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict was launched today in Sarajevo. The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in BiH, a partner in the project, presented several testimonies of sexual violence survivors.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH) will on November 19 premier its latest documentary film dedicated to the victims of wartime sexual violence in Sarajevo, at the Business Center Unitic.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Bosnia and Herzegovina held the second of its annual countrywide round of meetings with representatives of the media and judiciary in Travnik on Wednesday.
For the eighth year in a row, 10 promising journalists from across the region will present the investigative reports they developed at part of BIRN’s annual Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence scheme.
“Civilsed Monotony,” a new report on the implementation of Kosovo-Serbia agreements was launched today in Prishtina.
BIRN's latest documentary ‘The Majority Starts Here’ was given its Washington DC premiere at the National Press Club on November 3, sparking a debate about transitional justice and reconciliation processes in the Balkans.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Bosnia and Herzegovina started its annual countrywide round of meetings with representatives of the media and judiciary in Zenica on Wednesday.
A stalwart of our organisation since its foundation - and a much loved, respected and valued colleague - passed away on Wednesday.